31 October 2020, Saturday, 19:56
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How Doctors Became Active Opponents Of The Belarusian Authorities

How Doctors Became Active Opponents Of The Belarusian Authorities
PHOTO: NAVINY.BY

Solidarity and protest of Belarusians grow with every irresponsible action of the authorities.

The first month of Dzmitry Pinevich in the office of the new Minister of Health (in the status of acting) was marked by a series of personnel appointments in clinics, research centers, and medical universities. From the outside, it may seem that the Ministry of Health system is cleaning the ranks, as is happening now in other areas. Naviny.by tries to figure out, is this so.

In "Cardiology," Pinevich was shouted to "Shame"

Dzmitry Pinevich was appointed acting Minister of Health on August 24. Commenting on this appointment and the temporary status of Pinevich, Lukashenka said that "everything will depend on how he copes." As if this is a new person, although Pinevich has been working as a deputy minister since 2011, and before that, he headed the Health Committee of the Minsk City Executive Committee for several years.

Three days after his appointment, Pinevich heard harsh statements from the doctors of the Republican Scientific and Practical Center "Cardiology," including "Shame," when he came to dismiss the 67-year-old academician Aliaksandr Mrochak, who had been in charge of the institution since 2008.

The dismissal of Mrochak, which was greeted sharply negatively in the RSPC, was Pinevich's first personnel decision.

On September 14, Pinevich introduced the new leader to the staff of the Republican Scientific and Practical Center, Professor Natallia Mitkouskaja, who had not worked there before but headed the Department of Cardiology and Internal Diseases of the Belarusian State Medical University. Why the choice fell on Mitkouskaja and why the Ministry of Healthcare ceased to suit Mrochak, it was not publicly reported.

The next day, September 15, Pinevich introduced the new director of the Center for Expertise and Testing in Healthcare (CEaTH) Dzmitry Hrynko, the center's deputy director since March 2019. And before that, since 2013, he was the head of the department for the regulation of purchases, circulation of medical devices, and modernization of the Ministry of Health's healthcare facilities.

CEaTH is engaged in the registration of medicines and medical products. It is CEaTH that receives information from health workers about an adverse reaction to medications. This organization also issues permits for the import of medicines and substances into Belarus for registration in our country. The center carries out certification of medical equipment and medical products, as well as quality control of medicines.

On the post of director, Hrynko replaced Siarhej Marchanka, who already on September 10 was appointed Deputy General Director for Innovative Development of RUE "Belmedpreparaty." Marchanka headed the center after Aliaksandr Staliarou, the previous director of CEaTH, who was detained for corruption in mid-June 2018 (sentenced to seven years in prison).

On September 17, a new chief physician of the Republican Speleotherapy Hospital in Salihorsk, Natallia Dubovik, was appointed, who had previously been the deputy head of the clinic. Introducing Natallia Dubovik to the hospital's specialists, Dzmitry Pinevich emphasized that "when a person from the team is appointed as a manager, it means that the assessment of the team's work is high." What Dubovik's predecessor Pavel Liauchenka is doing now, the clinic does not say. They only note that the head's place was empty for about a year.

Personnel revolution in medical universities

The Acting Minister of Health also swept a career broom through medical schools. Rectors have changed in all medical universities, except for Viciebsk.

Professor Siarhej Rubnikovich was appointed to the post of rector of the Belarusian State Medical University, who returned to his native university after several years of work at BelMAPO.

Doctor of Medical Sciences Ihar Stoma became the rector of Homel State Medical University.

Alena Kratkova was appointed rector of the Hrodna State Medical University. Previously, she was the head of the main health department of the Hrodna Regional Executive Committee. The former rector of the HrSMU, 60-year-old Viktar Sniazhycki, plans to stay at the university at the department and be more actively involved in scientific activities.

It is not known where other rectors will work and why they were fired.

The rector of the Belarusian Medical Academy of Postgraduate Education (BelMAPO) was also replaced - instead of the urologist, Doctor of Medical Sciences Dzmitry Nitkin, who headed the Academy for two years, this position was taken by the candidate of sciences Aliaksej Chukanau.

The lack of transparency in personnel decisions in Belarus is observed at any level, but the Ministry of Health manages the industry, the high-quality functioning of which directly affects the health of each of us.

Perhaps, there is a logic in the appointments, and it is possible that they will only benefit the system, then there is more desire to understand it. However, the Ministry of Health's press service did not answer the journalist's question, for what reason, right now and almost simultaneously, numerous personnel appointments are being made in the industry.

According to the economist, the head of the project "Cosht Urada" Uladzimir Kavalkin, the change of heads of medical institutions and medical universities is not connected with some new strategy in the development of the health care system, but is the reaction of the authorities to the involvement of medical workers and students in the protest movement.

For example, employees of the Republican Scientific and Practical Center "Cardiology" repeatedly took to action against violence, especially since their colleague was among those detained after the elections, in support of whom they wrote a letter to the Minister of Internal Affairs.

The most massive protests were carried out by students and teachers of the Belarusian State Medical University, which were joined by university graduates, doctors, and employees of the capital's hospitals.

In Hrodna, doctors also went to the medical university building to protest, and the rector of the Hrodna State Medical University, Viktar Sniazhycki, publicly condemned the actions of the security forces. "I support my medical colleagues and all the protesters against violence and detention. The footage showing the brutal beatings of the demonstrators is shocking. Only the people of Belarus and their will will determine how we will continue to live," he quoted Sniazhycki's message on Facebook "Blog of Hrodna." Now there is no such record on the page of the former rector of the medical university.

"Doctors periodically speak in public space, help the beaten, publicly condemn the violence. Medics are active opponents of the regime. So they appointed leaders who will be obliged to strengthen the ideological work. However, it is not a fact that the new leaders will tighten the screws because these are the same doctors," said Uladzimir Kavalkin in a comment for Naviny.by.

The expert believes that appointments in the healthcare system once again show that Aliaksandr Lukashenka does not perceive the people of Belarus as a subject.

"In the perception of Lukashenka and his entourage, society, as he said, is sheep. The current government denies people subjectivity; therefore, in their understanding, when sheep become disobedient, more herding dogs are needed to intimidate and knock them into a flock," said Uladzimir Kavalkin.

However, the expert noted, "people are not sheep, citizens have a sense of their own dignity and justice." "People are guided not only by fear and the instinct of self-preservation but also by mutual support, respect, and solidarity. Power constantly makes people angry. And with each irresponsible action of the authorities, people are even more rallying, and solidarity is growing," summed up Uladzimir Kavalkin.